tv After Words CSPAN March 1, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
>> what we are told both the students and as a nation in terms of popular imagination is that there's all kinds of sit-ins and marches and demonstrations that occurred but they are really done by these famous iconic people. basically as rosa parks who just was so tired as she refused to get up from the bus in montgomery alabama and sparked the bus boycott and basically a young preacher who the president referred to during the election as this young peak -- preacher from georgette which is dr. martin luther king jr. that leads the masses of african-americans from racial oppression so this notion that rosa sat and martin could do
this stuff and jesse could run and barack, all these things sound good but they really, they really simplify a much more complicated history and that complicated history really involves so many african-americans, women and men who proactively dismantled racial segregation including rosa parks. rosa parks was an activist. she didn't just refuse to give seat by accident. do us a concerted strategic effort to try to transform democratic institutions.
>> up next on booktv, "after words" with guest host jane hall journalism professor at american university. boston, new york and the incredible rivalry that built america's first subway and his first book sub for how the brilliant, bombastric roger ailes built fox news - and divided a country. in it the new york magazine contributing editor provides an intimate and detailed look at the life of the former nixon white house member who started "fox news" channel. this program is about an hour. >> host: boston, new york and the incredible rivalry that built america's first subway congratulations on your new book it's generating a lot of interest. what is particularly in stressing to me covering the news media and fox for many years and also because i was on the "fox news" program about the media so i want to ask you first of all what attracted you to writing a book about roger ailes? >> guest: it's a great question and thanks for having me. i bet that covered the media for a decade and i've been
fascinated by the intersection of media and politics. i cover "the new york times" the "washington post" cnn and "msnbc" and i wanted to do a book about the history of "fox news" that revolutionized cable news is the most dominate cable news network. the ratings were doubled ratings were doubled out of cnn and "msnbc." i realize the way to tell that story is through the life and career of roger ailes because ox is a complete expression of his world view. the network is shaped in his image and without roger ailes unique talents i don't think fox would need the success that it is. it really evolved into a portrait of ale's with "fox news" is the culmination of everything he had worked towards both in politics show business and television. >> host: you said that "fox news" is a quote political operation that hires journalists. can you tell me what you mean by that? >> guest: of course. it goes back to roger ailes. roger ailes is a political
person. he got his start in television that he really owes his career to his work as a republican political strategist and a campaign adviser to republicans like phil grande george h.w. bush ronald reagan and most famously richard and who he worked for a 1968 and ailes thrived in the culture of what akel campaigns in his secrecy is paramount driving the roche's competiticompetiti veness all the things we see with "fox news" tied to roger ailes' career and background so when he came to fox and started network for rupert murdoch he brought all of that culture the dna of up little campaign which are writing the book he structured it like up little campaign. there's there is in fact a group of executives some of the seniormost team that call themselves the g8 and that's a reference to the g. six which was a group of campaign advisers who worked for george h.w. bush in 1988 and so you see all these
little phrases and sayings that come from a culture of what akel campaigns that occur at fox but more than that the way the network operates is really much on the structure of a political campaign. it starts with the meetings and everyone marches in lockstep. there's a sense of mission and purpose that flows from the top and you really see all those attributes that come out in the political world. >> host: give me some specifics. how do you see on the air what you see as a reflection of roger ailes dictating this agenda and his republican agenda? >> guest: what you see at fox is so much better in terms of television. >> host: it's very well produced. even his detractors would say that created. >> guest: picking talent that is seen authentically through the screen is said to estimate to ailes. fox tried these story lines that
really come out of the political world. in 2008 with the rise of barack obama you see fox pursue the story lines through the first term of his presidency. obama's czars this idea that the administration was appointing policy advisers that had extra constitutional authority. you saw the health care debate was a huge story. i write in the book how roger ailes gave a prop to a health care pundit you could go on camera and make the point that this bill was too unwieldy. he literally gave an on air talking head a stack of papers that was this tall to make up point. you see that scripting, that sense of narrative that comes out of the political world that you see in the programming. >> host: you no fox usually is criticized we have democrats on with dennis kucinich. what is your response to back?
how is this so unilateral if they have people on? >> guest: it's a great point in the critique that has been leveled against fox that it's a republican network doesn't mean they can't have liberal voices on walks. there are separate issues in a safe testament to ailes and his talent that he curates the people who appear on his network so there are a mix of voices so you have liberals feeding red meat to the conservatives. anyone who watched "hannity and colmes" would never consider "hannity and colmes" an equal exchange of left and right ideas and in fact in the book i describe how hannity's producers created this elaborate ruse to keep colmes on board and make alan colmes feel like an equal partner in the show when in fact sean hannity was the de facto executive producer of the show. sean hannity would pick they topics that they would cover and in the producers would go to alan colmes and say what is
your feet back but really the whole show the structure of the show was dictated by sean hannity. what ailes has done he has stacked the deck so conservatives always when while allowing himself to have some liberals on there to give him a talking point to say listen we give both sides. >> host: what to make of the fact that people say they have good journalists in our washington bureau. not everyone looks at the storyline you have set out here. >> guest: it goes to ailes genius as a political messenger and i want to step back and talk about his work on behalf of richard nixon which will help you to understand why fox can still be an organization while having liberals and reporters on its payroll. in 1968 roger ailes was a young adviser to richard nixon. ailes came out of the world of daytime tv is the executive producer of the mic doug was show.
he talked his way onto the campaign by convincing nixon that he needed to master television. they tried -- track the country doing town hall events that were the stage events were nixon would appear in front of a group of panelists over regular citizens and nixon would answer questions in the audience would be local republicans cheering wildly for the candidates of the entire event was staged to make nixon look like he was facing questions from hostile panel is when in fact the staging and the lighting in the audience was put in place to make nixon excel. fast-forward in time to "fox news". you have roger ailes who wants to communicate a republican message to advance his party's interests. he knows that you just feed right-wing talking points to the audience it's not going to be authentic so if he applied the same techniques that the nixon
campaign did by hand picking the audience, having people that confer credibility that are hostile potentially to his message and that exchange of ideas confers a level of credibility on fox the same way nixon was able to confer credibility a on his campaign by picking, by having panels that would ask tough questions. ailes in the 1968 campaign thought the best panel come the best town hall nixon to did was worried worry it is wet and face tough questions because the audience wanted to see him fight ailes knows the audience wants to see republicans have to fight for their side and ultimately when they win it that much more effective. >> host: you know it's interesting because they have hit back pretty hard in public relations politically. they have said you didn't talk
to roger ailes and check the facts with him and you have a lot of anonymous sources in the book along with a lot of other sources. >> guest: on the record sources. >> host: most of your comments are checked it to a source familiar with the situation. tell me about how you respond to those who say you did not fact check with us? howdy stano? >> guest: the book was fact checked. i did team the fact checkers that spends 2000 hours of vetting every word in the manuscript. i reached out to roger ailes more than a dozen times both in-person and in writing. i travel to different states to see them in person where he was giving speeches at public events. i read to his attorneys and i rode to his public-relations advisers. i would discuss every factor in the book and he declined every single request to participate. >> host: how did you ascertain the truth if you weren't checking? >> guest: we talked to sources
and talk to second dori sources and ultimately i feel very confident of the voracity of the import -- all the revelations of the book has been out in fox is not challenge one single point. >> host: they challenged the one about the fellow who allegedly reported. i don't really want to go into all of that in detail but he has denied something in the fellow who was supposed to set it tonight it. >> guest: they have tried to but that's an effort to distract from the record because that specific episode you are referring to is based on a documentary record for an nbc from an internal investigation that nbc human resources commission to investigate roger ailes and the lawyer who they hired the outside counsel to do the secret investigation the documentary record he produced on behalf of nbc so as a reporter i reflect their denials in the book but i rely on the
historical record. in 1995 when this event took place this episode was discussed and the man in question who ailes made this remark to said it at the time the event took place. the fact that he is denying it all these years later when there are other factors that come into play, there are a lot of other factors in as a reporter i rely on the historical record while giving this subject to chance to deny it. >> host: your encounter with ailes rang very true to me. years ago, he says to you, you state in the book that he said i want to elect the next president and it's a direct quote. he says kids are all wrong and their sick kids are all wrong futurism. he says you are a good reporter but it's all wrong and it's not what i want to do. obviously they have a lot of political people sarah palin and
people who have joked it's a place where future and past political candidates might be and yet at the same time he didn't elect the president so that seems to be a contradiction. he actually it is supported by others tried to get chris christie to run so you also say he is disdainful of mitt romney so how do you square saying he wanted to elect the next president with what actually he was able to do? >> guest: i think that gets to one of the things that makes roger ailes a fascinating character is he has these competing interests. he is a man in a certain way who is at war with himself because he is both the tv man and the party man and those two things can be in conflict with each other and what eyes find so fascinating is what my book shows in the year 2012 in this campaign we saw the limits of
roger ailes ability to shape the political landscape through the medium of television and through much of his career television was the all-powerful tool. it propelled the candidates and shaped the way the public received candidates but what happened in 2012 was "fox news" became so powerful that shape the brand of the republican party that ultimately eroded his efforts to get a republican into the white house because the brand, the image that fox presented to the american public while it was compelling to the base, while it was a phenomenally successful television product it was not a winning clinical message so ailes confronted the limits of its power. my book ends on this note that it's a story of decline. i traced the rise and fall of his career to the highest corridors of power in american politics but now it's in the decline phase and fox is not this all-powerful tool to get a republican and the white house. >> host: let me ask you, you
talk about his base and it's generally perceived that think is an older white often male audience which "fox news" anchors are often very chart did my question is whom is he appealing to because there seems to be kind of an angry, angry appeal here. he has fashioned himself in the past as creating the network, i am just covering the liberal bias of the mainstream media. i would think he might consider himself bigger than the republican party so who do you think he is appealing to? >> guest: he has been appealing to the same people for more than four decades come the same people that richard nixon appealed to degette let to the 1968. this is the silent majority coalition that they assembled for the 68 campaign that has been a reliable republican coalition throughout the years.
they were the reagan democrats in the 80s and when roger ailes was running bush's media campaign and to down my cult to caucus soft on crime and foreign-policy and all the notions of hatred system racism. these are the middle class populace white voters oftentimes from the heartland. roger ailes grew up in a factory town. these are the voters who felt that the america they knew from the 1950s and early 60's is slipping away so that is why fox is so successful in these cultural appeals. the idea that american traditions are under siege. it's important to point out that the median age of fox's audience continues to go up. it's an older demographic and a wider demographic so the voters that ailes appeals who are
getting older every year. sis coalition he has been speaking to for decades now. >> host: do you think he actually believes it? >> guest: i think it's both. whether revelations in my book is that ailes is a conservative true believer. their size than this guessing game with "fox news" is as cynical television arts and show business or is it real? the politics are real and you see it in ailes views on immigration and foreign-policy and his views on government spending. he is a committed conservative. there's no doubt about that and he should almost believes. it's interesting why he is not wanted to almost believes in the past. he has always wanted to talk his way out of situations and keep people off balance never truly knowing what he says. at "fox news" producers can never talk about roger ailes. they have a saying in the network when people want to communicate what ailes wants to see on the screen they say the second floor wants are the
second floor says in reference to the second floor is to roger ailes executive suite on the second floor of rupert murdoch headquarters in midtown manhattan so i think it's interesting that ailes wants to be this man behind the curtain and not on his views but that's a separate point. that said he is a true believer but willing to use show business techniques to achieve his true beliefs. the war on christmas is one issue where he does believe the war on christmas, that christmas day tradition under attack but that said he knows it's a very successful programming strategy and in an interview with roger ailes brother robert ailes he told me roger ailes looked at the demographics and he said the vast majority of the american people celebrate christmas so as a marketing strategy fox should be the pro-christmas network that it should appeal to the christmas supporters and let the other networks fight over the scraps. so i think that's a great anecdote that shows how ailes is
willing to use his show business acumen to achieve his lands. >> host: you are talking about wedge issues pretty much. let's talk about what has been the impact of the success of "fox news" on the other networks. what do you see is the impact? >> guest: i think the biggest impact one of ailes lasting legacies and one of the reasons i argue in the book is he has divided the country because he has divided the media. this notion of a liberal media which is a conservative idea ailes brought to back to the surface and the sex that's -- success of fox forced the media to choose sides. i go into great detail in my book about how cnn and "msnbc" respond to the success of fox especially in the years after 9/11.
the ratings gained in 2002 and never turned back. in my book i describe how how the executives at nbc in the run-up to the iraq war were really concerned and apoplectic at this idea that fox was continuing to run away with the ratings. he said maybe you should try to be more conservative than fox and we should rebrand ourselves. remember "msnbc" was called america's news channel and they put american flags all of the screen. they hired conservative talk radio hosts. one thing it didn't work because no one can match roger ailes talents to reach conservatives but after that failed "msnbc" found success during the second term of bush's presidency and then they decided to go all in an brand themselves as a liberal progressive cable news network so you see how ailes was so successful that he forced other
networks to literally change their programming strategy and that has been his legacy. he is not only change the media through fox but are the other channels. every media now has forced to explain to their viewers are we conservative, are we liberal, recount the middle? the fact that we are trying to argue whether "the new york times" is a centrist or liberal newspaper is a testament to ailes palin's. >> host: that drumbeat after 9/11 was very effect it. i'm not sure you can and should get it totally. they were being accused of being anti-teacher out of kids they weren't waving the flag. >> guest: i interviewed one fox producer told me after 9/11 they were literally running to times square to buy a flag pins to put on their anchors and everyone in the office.
there was this fervor that fox pushed that hedberg all effects. >> host: cnn was it means to have their executives say let's be sure to point out during the worst abuses and fox pointed out abu ghraib abuses on the other side to that drumbeat has been very successful whether it's attributable to fox or post-9/11. there is always pressure going toward. let me ask you one other question i want to get to hear about president obama specifically. you write that ailes has told people he thinks obama is bad for the country that he is basically close to the socialist although someone said ailes technique is to say is he a socialist? tell me how obama has complained about the way he has been --
and yet he is unknown whether to go on the air. he has gone on bill o'rielly. and doing the super bowl so what is it about the depiction of obama that you see as driving some anti-obama agenda? give me some specifics. what is on the air that shows you that they have been unfair to president obama? >> guest: i can go back to before he is the president in 2007. "fox news" ran with a report that he was educating in the jaws and were skirting close to the line pushing this idea that he is a muslim in his believes. the obama campaign complained bitterly and fox had to issue apologies but it's this idea of putting him outside of the american mainstream. ailes said that obama hates capitalism and they hammered the
salanter bankruptcy which was a legitimate scandal and the black mark for the obama white house but implemented that this idea that obama wants control of america's economy. i think the health care debate and death penalty was something that was accepted and popular culture and not just relegated to the conservative case. the idea whether the health care bill had death penalty that was a legitimate point of the health care debate that fox is pushing aggressively. what i think is interesting is that obama's candidacy and his selection really changed the mission at "fox news." i interviewed someone close to ailes who told me prior to obama's candidacy ailes saw himself competing with cnn "msnbc" and fox is the counterbalance of the american media but with obama's rise ailes saw the america that he knew as a child and an adult
changing. it became almost as personal mission where ailes is standing up to the president that is why open the hook with an exchange that took base of the white house in 2011 at the holiday party for the members of the media. ailes took his son zachary to the white house. he is on the rope line and going to greet the president barack obama turns to ailes and he says i see the most powerful man in the world is here. ailes says don't believe those rumors, i made them all myself. what is so interesting in the exchanges you see so much revealed about these two men. you see the resident who in the year 2011 was facing a tough re-election while he was making a dig, a joke to ailes there some truth to it. fox at that point in time seemed like it was possible to change
the political landscape and ailes answer sees the humor. you see the whale -- the way ailes downplays his ambition and has this charm offensive that has been a big part of his career. i thought it was such a way to open the book to bring the two men together to show how the highest levels of our politics roger ailes and barack obama were adversaries and it shows you a way to learn about fox and the president. >> host: you said america was changing. were you a plot implying that it was a racial attack? what are you saying that changed when obama was elected? >> guest: i think a lot of it has to do with race. roger ailes said there's no reason to have the civil rights movement anymore with the black
man in the white house. those were his words, not mine. what i think is interesting is ailes grew up at a time when white christian men were the dominant voice in our national politics. he was born in 1940 and he lived through civil rights in the women's movement. he lived here. i think fox is the channel speaking to that part of america that used to feel they ran the country and no longer do. i think ailes sees himself as a protector of that america. >> host: just to play devils devil's advocate, you don't have any evidence that this is a racially motivated attack on president obama. >> guest: i think the politics of race are very much a part of it. >> host: you were talking about appealing to disaffected people that they are losing --
>> guest: his views on immigration and environmental regulation, the idea of america becoming a multicultural country becoming its country that has stricter environmental laws. if you look at europe they have much higher taxes on gasoline and energy use and the idea that america would go down these other forms of policy choices ailes sees america as a different country and fox is a network that is speaking to those americans who feel that america should not be open to other ways of governing itself. so race is one part of it and the idea that obama is a black president was addressing whatever past injustice to place has done away with this idea that we should have affirmative action, civil rights but it's not limited to race. i think race is one wedge issue that he uses. >> host: again he may regard
him as a socialist but you don't really know his views on race particularly with obama are do you? >> guest: i'm addressing this notion that he said obama's presidency means we don't have to have the civil rights movement anymore. roger ailes has lacked friends and this is not an issue of lack versus white or african-american specifically but the view that the politics around race the idea that as a country we should have political sensitivities is what he is getting at. around the time of the 2008 election we are short on time but fox is pushing the new black panther story this idea that the obama white house would not punish groups that were breaking the law because they were black groups not because they were giving favorable treatment to blacks.
>> host: we are going to take a break and we will be back and when you talked about this biography went back to war in ohio i want to talk about that. thank you. >> host: you went back to roger ailes hometown and you he talked to his brother. a lot of people were free to talk to him because they didn't think, view it as something other than at the trail but what did you learn about his growing up? i don't think most viewers know much about his background. what was his childhood like and what connection if any do you
make but how he goes on to found "fox news"? >> guest: the interview with roger ailes is keep else "fox news" from his childhood experience and i wondered what that life experience ec manifested on "fox news." i went to warren ohio a factory town on the outskirts of youngstown a well-known factory town in that area and it's central to understanding who roger ailes is. he was born in 1940. neither of his parents went to college. his father had blue-collar job. his mother was an ambitious woman and did not have an education but she pushed the boys, roger ailes is one of three children and she pushed the brothers to take acting and panel lessons. it's interesting to note at that time this was a time of
limitless possibility for blue-collar america. general motors parent, the of packard was employing thousands of people. union jobs were plentiful and there was health care and benefits. packard was essentially a city unto itself. they had picnic's, company events. it was really a community and there was this social cohesion in blue-collar towns like warren that are lost today but going back to roger ailes he would go to the cinema because he or ronald reagan picture with his rubber. that sense of civic pride defined his childhood and the other thing that defined his childhood was his struggle with hemophilia a condition that pretense of blood from clotting when someone gets a cut so roger ailes suffered from this debilitating condition and the average life expectancy for severe hemophiliac was 10 or 11 years old.
this defined his childhood because he lived in fear that he didn't know how long he would make it. it's that sense of fatalism and that will to overcome his disability that marked his competitiveness that for cents. an interesting thing to point out the other part of his childhood was his father. his father was a very resentful that her man. felt frustrated at work and was pushed around. his father took it out on the children. his rather told me and roger ailes has spoken of the beatings at the house. his father was about man. roger's mother testified in the divorce record that the father was a violent man with her and threatened to kill her. it was a very dark childhood in out of that dark childhood you see a strain of this in successful people all over the country people's will to succeed
and overcome the difficulties of their past. roger ailes took that in the one final thing that defined his childhood was television. roger ailes is a hemophiliac was often home watching tv when television was coming into a television medium andy grew up on shows like gunsmoke and these classic shows with strong male leads and simple plot lines good and. that world of television that captivated roger ailes and propelled him in his career. you see the seeds planted in warren you see them flowering at "fox news." >> host: the combative quality and being pushed around and there's a kind of populism there which i think is very interesting in the background that you talk about. he has also been quoted as saying he loved his dad and it was difficult to deal with. >> guest: the way he talked
about in later life is that his father taught him these life lessons. in his book which i recommend to anyone reader and his book you are the messages of fascinating window into his philosophy but ailes talks about using this idea, he is a saying sick people make -- it's this school of hard knocks that ailes came out of and one of the things i found in interviewing these people that worked for ailes is a sense of loyalty and inspiration. ailes channel this dark childhood that he had into this positive message of making people feel they could overcome anything. >> host: he feeds into people feeling their world is disappearing so that's kind of a contradiction. >> guest: it is but he appeals
to people's, their different needs. i want to talk about television for a second. hugh winds up at ohio university he had a pioneering broadcasting department and radio television was becoming an industry in the 1950s. ailes was kind of lost. he wanted to join the military be because of his hemophilia he was kept out of the air force leased tumbled into broadcasting and found his mission. by his own admission his life was the studio. he would come in at 6:00 in the morning and be the last to leave. as a reporter it's so it incredible to see. you see someone find their direction and he founded in radio and television. >> host: let me ask you because a lot of people don't know that he was first of all he
meets richard nixon on the mic douglas show. he is the star of the book about the making of richard nixon. the selling of the president which was the first idea of packaging the president which everybody else has noticed recently. one of the things that i think is interesting is he has gotten very good press because he is so often quotable in a compatible way. journalists has seemed to like him. >> guest: his charisma has been one of the things that is propelled him to where he is his ability to charm reporters. i think his unwillingness to sit down with me is connected to that. >> host: tell me about that. >> guest: ailes has amassed power by controlling the images of republicans in the news media but if you think about it the number one story he has control has been his own and it goes back to his days on "the mike
douglas show." he was the young television adviser to richard nixon and here comes joe macinnes said a columnist is going to write a book about the campaign. roger ailes through his charm, his profanity, his charisma, he talked himself into being the star of joe macinnes' book and when the book came out roger ailes who was unknown to the wider american public became an overnight celebrity. he was thought up by republicans and even though he was trash talking nixon these republicans wanted him to do the same thing for nixon that he did for them. he became this bengali and the tv guru of his generation. that's a testament to ailes ability to sell himself. he has embellished his own life narrative to amass power. >> host: which of course is william randolph hearst. >> guest: what is so
interesting to me as a reporter is to look at the hundreds if not thousands of quotes that ailes is given and compared to the historical record. i consulted the archives of "the mike douglas show", the presidential library and his time as broadway producer and to match up ailes version with the historical record. you often find a discrepancy but this wasn't a case of gotcha. i wasn't trying to say roger ailes tells tall tales. we are in roger ailes life did he portray himself in a way that would advance his career and it was amazing. in this great tradition of american hucksters and storytellers both real and fictional who impress themselves on the american consciousness by massaging their stories is what i'm trying to say. he's a great storyteller and
that is a testament to his talent not a critique. >> host: i want to ask you about something that you uncover that i didn't know that much about which was tbn and the direction of tbn which you can explain it is a new service how that impacts what is on the air. as a journalist covering this and that media critic covering this it's always difficult to say where and how someone may or may not be doing something on the air that might be putting a thumb on the scale so talk to me about what you learned about that operation. >> guest: this is a fascinating little known part of american history that to me was one of the most interesting parts of the project. roger ailes was the news direct tbn, a fledgling news service in business from 1974 to early 76. it was financed by joseph magnet
a financier. he was the david coke up of his days financing right-wing groups roger ailes gets there is the news director in 1975 and when tbn was trying to package new stories to sell to local broadcast affiliates in a way that would talent scout the big three at a time in the 1970s where you had abc, nbc and cbs and that was the only source of television news so conservatives going back a generation were trying to find a way to cut through the liberal bias of the liberal mainstream media even though they weren't talking about it in those terms. roger ailes gets to tbn and i consulted these documents of the founder of tbn a former abc executive who started this network.
there were these fascinating memos where they were literally strategizing how they could package the news to appeal to conservatives. there was one effort where they would literally send their lineups to a conservative watchdog group called the accuracy in media which was a pioneering watchdog group. now we have media matters on the left in news busters on the right. this idea that tbn was going to send its lineups to a conservative activist group to basically get their seal of approval was showing me how explicitly they were trying to get news from a conservative perspective. they were focusing on techniques. there was one memo where a consultant for tbn figured out they could develop their own whipping post so if liberals were hammering the fbi or the cia for their abuse of power conservatives could hammer the welfare agencies, the department of education, the environmental protection agency.
literally they were deconstructing the news to advance their political agenda and in the seats of tbn i saw the blueprint of "fox news." it's a lasting story because ailes does not talk about tbn much. he is glossed over that part of his career but he was in this environment and soaking up these techniques that 20 years later he would use an and "fox news." >> host: what about the idea of repetition. tuc foxes repeating the message throughout the day? >> guest: that is one of the principles box uses as they develop story lines. the health care debate was a classic storyline the run-up to the iraq war. >> host: good guys, bad guys? >> guest: they developed adversary so let's take the case of iraq. "fox news" was hammering the united nations and france and
remember the whole freedom fries thing quick they were hammering al-jazeera the airbase television network's hostile anti-american. michael moore was a "fox news" enemy. they develop these characters on the opposing side and then they would build up their characters on the pro-side. george w. bush as the hero. they develop these story lines and repeat them through the day. they would start on fox and friends and go to the news hour and continued to prime-time. you see that going back to tbn with the repetition of stowers -- stories as a powerful propaganda point. >> host: if you watch "msnbc" and fox sometimes you feel you are watching parallel universes because stories on fox often have been about acorn or solyndra the green power.
what would you say to people who say, let me just ask you what you see is the difference between what "msnbc" is doing? are they similar or how are they different? >> guest: in many ways they have outfoxed fox on the left. "msnbc" has decided there business is a progressive liberal talk show and i think that's an insure sting marketing strategy. it's important to point out that was the business decision. as we talked about it to "msnbc" was more than happy to be a conservative right-wing network after 9/11 when they thought that was a better marketing strategy. ailes started fox for political reasons and "msnbc" is a business marketing issue but what i think is interesting is "msnbc" is not as good as fox. just as pure television producers that programming is not as compelling because they don't have roger ailes unique talents and his ability to
foster conflict and his ability to pick talent. if you look at the talent ailes has picked. bill o'rielly was out of work and he came to fox and 96 and sean hannity had never hosted a television show. he sees personalities who are then take jump through the screen who viewers can relate to on an emotional visceral level where is "msnbc" is sometimes too caught up in being ideologically pure trying to win the ideological arguments rather than understanding television is about performance and drama. >> host: i think that "msnbc" would disagree with your phrase if they are purely ideological. they seem to attract a younger demographic and ailes has been quoted recently, he said he liked rachel maddow but didn't
want to get her into trouble. i think they would disagree with you about how the programming comes across. back to the talent here. what do you think roger ailes view of bill o'rielly is today because bill o'rielly has had huge success. what is their relationship? >> guest: it's an interesting relationship. it's not particularly close but they both need each other and what's interesting is o'rielly, bill o'rielly is the one talent at fox who can do almost what he wants. >> host: he often can disagree with the line of the day. >> guest: that's a testament to the show. he built the show from scratch. ailes is a television genius but bill o'rielly really made the show. it's interesting to point out when already joined fox he was hosting a 6:00 p.m. show that was really going nowhere and
they moved o'rielly to 8:00 p.m. during the clinton monica lewinsky scandal and overly connected with this audience who was outraged at bill clinton and overly sense the drama of the story and his ability to get his guests to engage in his fiery interviewing style. i describe in the book as an irish street cop. he has an ability to laser in on what the issue is. that's a testament to o'rielly's center. he is the highest rated show on fox. he can do what he wants and ailes jokes that o'rielly uses his show to sell looks and promote himself. it really is because ailes has this respect for o'rielly is a self-made man. >> host: or riley has come out of ways on immigration and gun control.
you said because he is powerful powerful -- >> guest: he can do what he wants and he has his own audience. o'rielly really is an interesting, he is essentially the one talent at fox with some exceptions with sean hannity who is very different. john hannity is very much in lockstep with what roger ailes wants. bill shine who is roger ailes or graham deputy was for years sean hannity's direct producer. ailes can get what he wants onto the air through hannity. >> host: i want to come back to a couple of things about the 2012 election. it was a famous moment where was written about and on the air work karl rove who has been on fox for many years and raising money against obama and doing commentary about obama disbelieves the call.
tell us about that because that was the moment where the anchor, somebody said let's go check. it doesn't fit the scenario. what happened in that moment where she questioned and said let's look at the returns? >> guest: we should back up to what happened that morning. roger ailes comes in and planning the election coverage and they have a news meeting where the anchors and analysts talk about how they are going to cover the night. ailes was frustrated that chris christie had given obama a photo op on the beach after hurricane sandy and the fox polling analyst said our polls don't show that hurt romney. everyone in the room as one of my interview scepters told me he felt that ailes felt the polling was skewed had a chance.
it was this idea that the data, don't trust the data. that was the mindset people inside the network had. fast-forward to the ohio call and rove who was the party insider was fighting with meghan kelly saying we are not going to call it. there was this moment that encapsulated the denial where you had talking heads like moore rejecting a romney landslide. the reason my that moment resonated with the culture is it showed the world that on "fox news" it really was a self-contained universe. people on fox.that romney was going to win. all the polls besides the rasmussen poll showed romney facing an uphill battle so meghan kelly which is a testament to her said we are going to challenge you on this and it made for an amazing television moment. this is one of the things that
makes ailes a television genius. he turned what could've been a humiliating moment where karl rove is to 9 feet reality and turned it into this television moment where everyone in politics had to talk about it. meghan kelly marched down the hall and interviewed and the network called it. that was a fitting into the way fox covered the election. >> host: does it also proved that meghan kelly was an independeindepende nt journalist or do you think it was stage? >> guest: she has conservative views but she is willing to challenge people's assumptions and she used it as a moment to flex their muscles and ailes use it as a moment to make great television. >> host: let me ask you this. what do you see is as the future of "fox news"? ailes is 73 years old. >> guest: i think the future is dependent upon roger ailes. what is so interesting is he has
so far declined to deem a successor publicly. it's important to point out that it will be rupert murdoch's decision because he is the corporate parent. ailes is the visionary who created it so i think "fox news" cannot exist in its current form without roger ailes. it's so much a reflection of his personality of his political instincts. everyone waits to take their cues from ailes. there is not a strong personality within the network that can rise up to fill the shoes. ultimately the future of "fox news" is an open question. >> host: what about rupert murdoch and his relationship? do you think murdoch envisioned what was going to happen? is he ideological the way you portray ailes has been ideological? >> guest: i don't think murdoch could have ever imagined this success.
"fox news" is -- generates a billion dollars of reliable profit every year. i think ideologically rupert murdoch is a conservative. he's a pragmatist. he has demonstrated an ability really to back politicians of all stripes. famously he coasted up to tony blair in new labour in the united kingdom. he reached out to hillary clinton in the states. that said i think roger ailes profits give him the independence to program foxlike he sees fit salon issues like immigration and education and issues like climate change rupert murdoch and roger ailes are not on the same page. >> host: today we live in such a different world in terms of the media and ailes was slow to understand or put money behind any kind of web apparatus.
you paint him as the man who divided america and that's the title of your book, how the brilliant, bombastric roger ailes built fox news - and divided a country. i have two questions for you. what do you think has been the long-term going forward impact on our political discourse? what is the impact on how politics is conducted in washington d.c. of what ailes in your opinion has been? >> guest: i think roger ailes has brought us back to an earlier time in our history. if you go back before the second world war american history was marked by partisan media. going back to -- >> host: there was a noise this objectivity. >> guest: the notion that television was supposed to be a referee was at post-war a nominally so i think ailes job has brought us back in time and now the genie is out of the
bottle. partisanship is here to stay and the internet has flowered with a million different voices on the right of the left libertarian in neoconservative. we are now a partisan media country and i think that is ailes lasting legacy. in terms of the politics i think ailes lasting legacy has been to normalize the scorched earth zero-sum vision of politics. it's a testament to ailes success that democrats have copied his success and bill clinton in 1992 the democrats talked about how they ran a roger ailes vile campaign brutally confronting attacks. barack obama ran a ailes that campaign. >> host: but that was before "fox news" was invented. at. >> guest: using crash distortion and scorched earth tactics to attack your opponent always being on offense was the roger ailes school of politics.
he was better at it than anyone else and it's important to point out that barack obama ran a campaign defining him -- the famous 47% video. those were roger ailes type attacks. i think ailes legacy will be politics now is considered a zero-sum game. partisanship is the ultimate goal and the left and the right now if you look at the polarization in congress the politics now is about trying to get all of your issues across the finish line rather than seek compromise. >> host: do you think this is different from how congress operated years ago? >> guest: i said roger ailes has brought us back in time. i don't think he has invented a new style of politics that he has brought us back to this
style of politics. he has made the notion of consensus a dirty word in american politics. >> host: the other factor is people fund-raiser around these appearances as well and now you have democrats not that often going on fox. cnn is struggling to find its way. >> guest: as a reporter who really believes in this idea of facts in journalism in this notion that you can go out and ask questions wherever the story takes you is wherever you go. i think unfortunately one of the legacies of fox's success is journalism is seen as a way to advance whatever your partisan agenda both on the left and the right and i hope perhaps my book will open peoples eyes to that and maybe encourage people to want to have more of a central clearinghouse where journalists
can report the facts and let politicians debate them. journalists are not supposed to be advancing one side or the other. >> host: i would hope that's true. thank you very much boston, new york and the incredible rivalry that built america's first subway. >> guest: thank you for having me. >> i think there are some myths out there.